Buying a house is a big decision, and being in the military can make that decision even bigger because you have additional factors to consider. On one hand, military service can provide stability and a steady income, making homeownership more attainable.
On the other hand, frequent relocations and deployments can make it difficult to maintain a permanent residence. In this article, we’ll explore the pros and cons of buying a house while in the military, and provide guidance to help you make an informed decision on whether it’s the right choice for you.
Buying a House in the Military: Is It a Good Idea?
Whether buying a house while in the military is a good idea depends on various factors. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer and it’s important to carefully assess all factors and seek advice from real estate and finance experts before making a decision. Let’s take a look at each factor in detail.
Personal Financial Situation
Before making a decision about homeownership, it’s important to assess your financial stability and ensure you have enough funds for a down payment, closing costs, and ongoing home maintenance expenses. Make sure you have a solid emergency fund in place and that you’re not going to go into debt.
Find out if you’re eligible for the Military Home Buying Assistance Fund or other housing stipends that could make purchasing a house easier.
SocialConsider how long you plan to stay in the military and where you see yourself living in the future. If you expect frequent relocations, it may be difficult to maintain a permanent residence, which can be a burden and negatively impact your finances.
However, there is always the option to rent out your house if you are deployed or have a permanent change of station.
Ability to Handle Responsibilities
Homeownership comes with a range of responsibilities such as property maintenance, mortgage payments, and property taxes. Make sure you are prepared to handle these responsibilities, especially if you are deployed or stationed far from your home.
Pros and Cons of Buying a House While in the Military
When it comes to buying a house while in the military, there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider before making a decision. Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of homeownership for military service members.
There are several potential benefits to buying a house while in the military, including:
- VA loans: Military members and veterans are eligible for VA loans, which offer favorable terms, including no down payment and no private mortgage insurance.
- Building equity: Owning a home can provide the opportunity to build equity, which can be useful in the future for things like buying a larger home or refinancing.
- Sense of home: Having a permanent place to call home can provide a sense of stability and security which can be especially important for service members returning from deployment or temporary relocation.
- Potential for appreciation: Real estate values can appreciate over time, leading to a potential increase in the value of your home that will provide a good ROI in the long run.
It’s important to keep in mind that while these can be potential benefits, buying a house while in the military is not without its challenges and risks, and it’s important to weigh these carefully before making a decision.
There are several potential drawbacks to buying a house while in the military, including:
- Frequent relocations: Military service often requires frequent relocations and deployments, making it difficult to maintain a permanent residence. Although this is difficult, you do have the option to rent your house out and make passive income while you are deployed or restationed.
- Deployment-related financial strain: Deployments can lead to financial strains, making it difficult to keep up with mortgage payments and property maintenance expenses.
- Managing a property from a distance: Being deployed or stationed far from your home can make it difficult to manage and maintain your property. This is why many military members choose to turn the responsibilities of their property over to a property management company when they are deployed.
- Competition in the housing market: The housing market can be competitive, especially in areas with a high concentration of military personnel, and it can be difficult to find a home that meets your needs and budget.
It’s important to consider these potential drawbacks carefully and assess your own financial situation and future plans before making a decision on whether buying a house while in the military is the right choice for you.
5 Things You Should Do Before You Consider Buying
If you are in the military and considering buying a house, here are five things you should do before making a purchase:
- Check your eligibility for a VA loan: As a member of the military, you may be eligible for a VA loan, which offers a number of benefits over traditional mortgages. You will need a certificate of eligibility (COE) from the VA to apply for a VA loan.
- Determine your budget: Before buying a house, it’s important to determine what you can afford. Consider your monthly income, debt, and other expenses to determine what kind of mortgage payment you can handle.
- Save for a down payment: While VA loans often have no down payment requirement, you may still want to make a down payment to reduce your monthly mortgage payments.
- Check your credit score: A good credit score can help you secure a lower interest rate and better terms on your mortgage. Review your credit report and address any errors or negative items before applying for a mortgage.
- Shop around for a lender: Not all lenders are VA-approved, and interest rates and fees can vary greatly between lenders. Shop around to find a lender that offers competitive rates and fees and has experience working with military borrowers.
Buying a house while in the military can be a great investment for your future, but it’s important to carefully consider your financial situation and overall goals before making a decision. If you’re eligible for a VA loan, you can enjoy a number of benefits such as no down payment requirement, lower interest rates, and no PMI requirement.
Before buying a house, make sure to determine your budget, save for a down payment, check your credit score, and shop around for a lender that offers competitive rates and fees. Ultimately, whether or not buying a house while in the military is right for you will depend on your individual financial situation and goals.
Keyrenter Chester can help you make this decision, and advice you on buying a property in Chester, Virginia. Let us be your one-stop shop for all your real estate needs. Contact us today!